In the backdrop of demonetisation, there is plenty of room for stories. "Puthen Panam" unfolds the shenanigans related to money and its Kasargod connection, but partially and superficially. You will see people running helter-skelter in the night of November 8, 2016 to hide their illegal money following the Prime Minister's announcement of demonetisation.
The film takes off from there but with the introduction of Nithyananda Shenoy (Mammootty), the film digresses to his own problem. He comes to Kochi to meet a former Minister (Saikumar) and during the meeting the ex-minister dies. A panic-stricken Shenoy throws away the pistol in a garbage mound. When Muthuvel (Swaraj Gramika), a schoolboy gets the pistol, things become complicated.
He uses it for the protection of his mother Sundari (Iniya) from 'Neutral' Kunhappan (Baiju), a goon, who usually harasses them. Now Shenoy follows the boy to grab the pistol from him. It's ridiculous even to think that an underworld man, who is touted to be very close to Dawood Ibrahim, struggles to capture the pistol from the boy.
While the character Shenoy is a cakewalk for Mammootty, the Kasargod slang gives the film a freshness amidst the lackluster scenes. The script, co-written by director Ranjith and P.V. Shajikumar, neither explores the impact of demonetisation nor the crisis in detail.
The aimless and meandering screenplay of "Puthen Panam" gives the impression that Ranjith seems to be stuck in a groove. He chases the current issues and squeezes them into a cinematic template without going to the extent of carving out a better creative output. This drawback persistently lurks in his recent films and "Puthen Panam" ramps up that notion.
However, Ranjith once again proves his mastery of portraying all the characters by giving them distinct individuality. After a long time Baiju gets a pivotal role which he has done perfectly well. Besides, Indrans as Kuruvi is impressive.
Apart from the slow pace in the latter half, a tedious song sequence and the blaring background score by Achu Rajamani appear incongruous to the whole action. The film has the tagline "The New Indian Rupee" but except the Kasargod slang, there's hardly anything new in it.
Puthan Panam Video Review
WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN:
0.0 - 1.4 : Poor
1.5 - 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts
1.8 - 2.3: Average
2.4 - 2.9: Fairly Good
3.0 - 3.4: Good
3.5 - 5.0: Very Good